Thursday, June 05, 2008

The good, the bad and the Nuñez

The Mets organization had some reason to smile entering Thursday, having won three straight series and holding three of the first thirty-three picks in the MLB draft. And Met fans could be forgiven for smiling too after the Mets didn't use any of those top picks on college relief pitchers. In fact, the Mets used only one of their eight picks today on a pitcher, taking right handed starter Bradley Holt from UNC Wilmington with the thirty-third overall pick. Six of their other seven picks were used on college hitters, headlined by Ike Davis, a first baseman/outfielder from Arizona State, at the 18th pick and Reese Havens, a shortstop from the University of South Carolina Columbia, at the 22nd pick. I don't know nearly enough about these guys to have any strong opinions about the Mets' draft thus far, but I do like to see the Mets restocking their barren farm system with hitters. I wouldn't have minded seeing them go for one or two more high risk/high reward high schoolers--Puerto Rican outfielder Javier Rodriguez at 68 was the only one they took out of high school--but I can't fault them for going for safer college players who are closer to being ready for the majors. Just for fun I will point out that Davis hit .355/.418/.612 for his college career and .394/.468/.778 this year. Havens hit .298/.396/.470 for his career and .359/.486/.645 this year.

While I'm cautiously optimistic about the Mets' draft, I can't say the same about their recent major league roster moves. Today they sent down Nick Evans, which is completely reasonable, and called up Abraham Nuñez, which is totally unfathomable. The Mets' roster already has three catchers and no backup outfielder or first baseman, unless you count Fernando Tatis and Damion Easley as either or both of those things, and to this they add the offensive cipher that is Nuñez. Nuñez got 574 at bats for the Phillies over the last two seasons (it's a wonder they didn't win any playoff games) and hit .221/.310/.277. All of these numbers are fairly consistent with a career in which he peaked at a .343 OBP and .361 SLG and had a batting average of .225 or lower in five different seasons. No amount of defense is going to make up for his Neifiesque offense, especially given that he only plays third base, where the Mets don't need a backup, shortstop, where the Mets don't need a backup, and second base, where the Mets already have a backup. Unless Nuñez's job is to boost the self esteem of Luis Castillo and Brian Schneider by comparison, his presence on a major league roster, especially that of a team that fancies itself a contender, is baffling.

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